Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game has been part of the film canon for so long that it's valuable to remind audiences how gloriously alive and just plain fun it is. Low comedy walks hand and hand with tragedy and beauty throughout; the film is frothy one minute, nearly apocalyptic the next, and so you're never fully allowed to gather your bearings.
Another evolving-taste flip-flop: I used to prefer Grand Illusionbecause it's more thematically blunt, now prefer this because it's much more knotty and subtle (albeit still pretty blunt in spots). Plus, it's just riotously entertaining, much more so than I recalled.
Renoir’s operettalike confection is booby-trapped; stupefied revellers fixing their gaze on a player piano as it rattles out the “Danse Macabre” take their place among history’s passive victims.